Every hockey team is made up of players that have different styles and approaches when it comes to the game. It’s easy to see the skill players that are always finding the back of the net or the goaltenders that are trying to turn those skill players away. There are other roles to fill as well and sometimes those do not get as appreciated even though they are just as important. Having energy players that are not afraid to drop the glove to defend their teammates is just as important to the game. On the San Antonio Rampage, AHL affiliate of the Florida Panthers, that player is third year pro, Eric Selleck.
“I think it is important,” Selleck said of his role on the Rampage. “You have skilled guys and young guys and you don’t want to get run over or taken advantage of by other tough guys.”
The 25-year-old left wing out of Spencerville, Ontario has made his way up through the leagues to find his way to the AHL. He has always known that his type of player was valuable. “If you’re losing and you need momentum or need some energy to get the boys going,” Selleck said. Selleck spent two years in the CJHL with the Pembroke Lumber Kings before spending two years in college at SUNY-Oswego. Although Selleck was not able to fight in college, this role is one that he has always embraced. When he spent his first season in the AHL with the Rochester Americans, he did not waste any time. He notched 28 fighting majors in 67 games.
“You have to find a job that’s going to suit you and your team,” Selleck said about being a fighter, “so I just kind of found this role as I moved up in the leagues.”
Although energy guys and tough guys like Selleck might not get the same amount of ice time as the guys scoring every night, it can still be exhausting. A fight might only last a minute or two, but taking punches can take a toll on the body. It is something players have to condition for. During the off season, in addition to regular training, they also have to condition their body for if and when they get into fights during the season.
“I took boxing lessons and I don’t know if it helped or not,” Selleck says of his off-season training with a laugh. “You’re kind of winging it when you get into a hockey fight.”
Currently in his second season with the San Antonio Rampage, Selleck is continuing to drop the gloves when he has to in order to protect his teammates. But he has also had a chance to take part in the charitable initiatives the Rampage take part in. Selleck recognizes how good it is to help out different charities and lend a hand when he can.
“It’s important to me and to all the guys. We’re trying to raise money,” Selleck said. “We enjoy it and it’s amazing to be a part of it. It’s great to see the smiles and feel that we’re helping.”
One such example that has been a huge success in San Antonio is their Pink in the Rink event, which will happen for the third time this season. Pink in the Rink is a night where the Rampage take to ice dyed pink in pink jerseys to be auctioned off after the game. The goal is to raise money to help fight breast cancer and the Rampage have raised nearly $75,000 so far. Last season, the game created the first ever sellout for the franchise as the team took the ice in front of over 16,000 fans.
“We just feed off the energy when it’s loud. It gets us excited and motivated to play,” Selleck said of the game last season. “We appreciate the sell out and are hoping for another one this time around.”
The Rampage come back from the All-Star Break on Friday, February 1st and will take on the Rockford IceHogs for their third annual Pink in the Rink game. They are hoping to sell out this game for the second year in a row. In addition to the game, Rampage players and staff members will be out in the community during next week leading up to the game to help promote it. It’s a great cause and it’s great to see Eric Selleck and the rest of the Rampage players embrace it the way they do.